Notes for Changing the Law test Law change is concerned with improving the law and it is usually preceded by research. There are two basic mechanisms or avenues for change. Firstly, there is changing the law through parliament, known as legislation. Law change via legislation is the most common way of changing the law. Secondly, a judge can change the law through the doctrine of precedent and their flexibility in interpreting the law. Although there are only two ways to actually change the law, other factors may still influence a change.
Such "factors" are pressure groups, people defying the law, the Law reform committee and the media, along with other influential groups and individuals. Changing the law isn't an easy task though, and it has its barriers: Courts: - Courts are able to change the law, but are limited in this role as they can only do so when a case comes before them, and the case involves the type of law that needs changing. - Courts are very conservative, and rather than overrule the law, will follow precedent instead. - Courts may be bound by old precedent and usually feel that changing the law should be up to parliament. However the High Court is not bound by precedent and so can change the law when a case is brought before them. - Changes in the law through the courts are ex post facto, that is, an action is made against the law after the action has been carried out.
So courts will only make a decision on whether it is against the law after the action has taken place. - The process of change through the law can be slow to develop, such as the law of negligence which continues to grow in scope Parliament: - Conflicting views within the community. It is hard to change the law that suits everyone's needs, although, parliament is most often influenced by individuals or groups of society who represent the entire community's need for the law change.